Friday, August 14, 2009

The Queen Arrives @ The Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire

August the 8th was opening day for the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire and we were there! Much as changed since my last visit about 15 years ago. New battlements have been built around the entrance, a new large gift shop now stands out side the mansion, and as we learned a little later the entire shire is now blacktopped. The blacktop is a bit of a disappointment as it seems to take away some of the flavor of the shire but it was a welcome relief to have good footing about. It also keeps the dust down and it make it some easier for wheelchair and handicap access. Beside, isn't imagination what it’s all about anyway? Another great addition is modern restrooms and running water for hand washing. No doubt this makes for a healthier environment to the faire in general. The faire seemed to be bigger than I remember with a lot of new shops and shows. It’s not possible to see it all in one day so a two day pass is a great bargain. Ticket sales begin at about 10:00 am and the gates to the Shire open at 11:00. Advance tickets can be purchased online.

We arrived early and visited the gift shop and generally just did a “people watch”. There is a discount for showing up in costume so there were many, many people dressed for the occasion. One family, pictured here, stood out among all others. They had beautiful costumes and I believe they were homemade. If I remember correctly the family name was “Rholer”, but since I forgot my notebook I just wrote the name on a scrap of paper that was in my wallet and naturally I can't find it now. Perhaps if they read this one of them would kindly let us know for sure and tell us a little about themselves and their costumes.

There was also a gentleman in costume who proclaimed himself a “Bubble Wright”. He had a marvelous homemade bubble machine that produces a myriad of bubbles with little effort. Now this may seem a little strange for a Renaissance Faire but he assured us that bubbles did indeed have a place in the period portrayed by the faire and he was one of few true bubble wrights to be found. He also proudly proclaims that being a bubble wright is not a job but a lifestyle.
I can’t attest to those claims but I can tell you this---his marvelous machine delighted children of all ages! And what a bargain! Bubbles were 3 for a quarter or as many as you can stuff in your pocket for a dollar! The bubble wright, by given name, is Felix Cartagena and he hails from Newark Delaware. He is a delightful person indeed.

Shortly before the gates open to the masses the Mayor, Sheriff, his deputy and other members of the shire stood upon the battlements and bade welcome to all visitors. News of the Queen arriving today was welcomed by all and one of the first stage shows was the Queens court. Of course the humorous activities here set the stage for the rest of day with the human chess match taking place late that afternoon. I’m sorry to say we missed that show as we left before its scheduled time.
Through out the day the actors and characters greeted with the visitors and the interaction was great! Many craftsmen displayed their work from glass blowing to music, to archery and much, much more. We also found that the folks at the aid station were more than willing to assist with a minor problem we encountered and for that we were grateful.
The Faire can be done as a day trip from Salisbury but it may make for a long day. Like I said earlier you can’t see it all in one day so a two day pass and an overnight stay may be the way to go. Advance tickets can be bought online by visiting their site and you can do that by clicking on the title to this post. I also suggest you look closely at the schedule because each weekend has a slightly different theme and some week-ends have special pricing that may be of interest for your visit. Weapons are discouraged inside the shire but if your in a costume that comes with a weapon it will have to “peace tied” before entering the shire. Security is on hand to do that for you. Bags are allowed but will also be checked prior to entering as food and drink (except bottled water) are not allowed to be brought it. A picnic area is located out side the shire if you desire to bring your own refreshment. Food and drink is sold inside the shire and the prices are reasonable.
I suggest you carry some bottled water, sanitary hand wipes, maybe some sun block and wear comfortable shoes. And above all---Have fun!
(Click any of the above photos for a larger view)

No comments: